Simple Apple Cake (Gina DePalma’s Mom’s Hubba Hubba Apple Cake)

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Gina DePalma thinks her mom got the recipe for this gorgeous, not-too-sweet apple cake from a ’50s women’s magazine. When Gina was little, her mom made it Saturdays, for Sunday supper. These days, Gina makes it year round and affectionately calls it her Hubba Hubba Apple Cake.


For me, it brings back memories of a church-basement childhood, when the coffee urns were perking, Ladies Aid members were dishing, and there were countless cakes lined up on the buffet.


It’s basically a dump cake–just whisk and stir liquid ingredients with the dry ones, layer with cinnamon-sugared apples, bake it off and presto: you’ve got an impressively tall and gorgeous cake.  Orange juice in the batter makes the crumb tender; sugared apples in the middle and on top add flavor and texture.


At Gina’s request, we have not adapted the recipe at all from the tattered recipe card she still has from her mom. Gina stresses that you must use a 10-inch tube-cake pan–not a bundt cake pan, to bake this. The batter rises nearly to the top of the pan.


Makes 1, 10-inch tube cake

Apple Topping & Filling Ingredients

  • 7 large apples– tart, baking apples are best (Gina’s mom used Golden Delicious)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon

Cake Batter Ingredients

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup orange juice (from the carton is fine)
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • confectioners sugar (for dusting)


  1. Make apple filling/topping: Peel and core apples. Cut each apple into quarters. Cut quartered apples lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices.
  2. Mix 2 tsp cinnamon with 1/4 cup sugar.
  3. Sprinkle 3 Tbsp cinnamon sugar over sliced apples and toss to coat; reserve the remaining cinnamon sugar. Divide sugared apples into two equal portions. Set aside.
  4. Make cake: Generously grease (using shortening or butter) the complete insides of 10-inch tube pan, being careful to cover the tube, the sides, and the bottom of the pan. Flour the pan. Wrap the outside of the pan (bottom third) with aluminum foil.
  5.  In a large, shallow mixing bowl, sift sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt together. Make an impression in the center of the dry ingredients. Set bowl aside.
  6. In a medium bowl, whisk orange juice with oil, eggs and vanilla extract. Pour wet ingredients into the well you made in the dry ingredients and mix well to create a stiff batter. Spread 1/2 of the batter in the prepared tube pan.
  7. Arrange 1/2 of the reserved sugar apple slices over the batter. (I nestle the little half-moons of apple, curved sides out, around the outside edge, and around the inner tube edge. Then fill in with apples over the remaining exposed batter.) Sprinkle half of the reserved cinnamon sugar over all.
  8. Preheat oven to 325. Spread remaining half of batter over the apple layer; layer the remaining second portion of sugared apples over the top. Sprinkle remaining cinnamon sugar over all.
  9. Bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes until a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean.
  10. Cool cake on wire rack for 30 minutes. Loosen cake; remove to a platter. Just before serving, sprinkle with confectioners sugar, if you like. Note: We think slices of cake taste great warmed just a little before serving (10 seconds–max–in the microwave) A scoop of ice cream would be nice with this, and definitely a hot cup of coffee.

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